We recently opened our doors to host a student portfolio review. We are strong believers in giving back to the community and helping others, so we thought ‘why not help people with what we know best’?! Learning how to effectively create and present your portfolio of work is a necessary skill for any level design professional; as a student looking for your first job, as an experienced designer looking to change career paths, or even as a company, where we re-work and update our portfolio every few months.
Every single team member of The Creative Pack has been a student at one point, so we know what it’s like to transition from design classmate to co-worker. The process can be overwhelming and intimidating.
Some design students are fortunate enough to have a portfolio course their final semester of design school. This gives students a few months to build and refine a solid showcase of work. Yes, they have their professors and fellow design students at their disposal for feedback and suggestions, but what about industry feedback? You know, the ones interviewing and hiring you.
That’s why we decided to set up our own student portfolio review. In a sense, it’s a mock interview. It gives students (or any aspiring designer) the opportunity to practice presenting your work and to receive feedback in a positive environment. Practice makes perfect, right?
During a typical interview at The Creative Pack we are looking at 3 things:
A Portfolio is an intimidating beast – even for professionals, like us. Like most, you put off building your portfolio because you don’t know where to start. That’s when your portfolio becomes a random compilation of all the work you’ve ever done. Instead, your portfolio should be treated as any other project, with it’s own design brief – a strategic, well thought out reflection of your design abilities and skills. This is your opportunity to tell your own visual story. Ultimately your portfolio is the most important design project you will ever do. Start sooner than later – you never know when that dream design agency will be hiring.
Resumes are important too. The resume often gets left to the last minute because so much emphasis is put on the portfolio. Yes, portfolios are the showstopper but the resume backs it all up. It should be a credible list of work experience, skills, awards, and extra curricular activities. But more importantly, it should be well designed, legible, and have absolutely no mistakes. When you’re emailing your resume to potential employers, remember - this may be your only shot to make a good impression. One spelling error could make or break potential job opportunities.
Take the time to proofread your resume, and then do it again!
Finally, having a good attitude is crucial. You may have the most amazing work we’ve ever seen, and a perfectly polished resume, but if you seem difficult to work with, that’s a deal breaker.
Be eager to learn, be positive, be helpful, be thoughtful, be inquisitive, be inspired, be a professional. You may not have a particular skill, but if you show eagerness to learn, you may just get the job! We can’t say this enough – A good attitude goes a long way.
The Creative Pack student portfolio review was a fun afternoon of feedback and growth. We met some bright students in different stages of their design school careers. For those who didn’t make it, we hope to host another student portfolio review again this fall. Until then…we put together a Portfolio Checklist with ‘Tips from the Pros’. Feel free to download and share!
Be sure to follow us @thecreativepack on instagram and twitter for more professional design tips/suggestions!